On this, the one-year anniversary of my blog (waits patiently as balloons fall from the ceiling, champagne corks fill the air, children throw flowers, old ladies weep with joy, young studly men . . . ) AHEM! On this day, I have been called upon to rise to a challenge. A challenge like no other! A challenge issued by Jeff from View from the Cloud, who was likewise challenged by Brent from the Ominous Comma.
The challenge is this:
Write a funny post that includes an actual and helpful technical blogging tip or educational material helpful to new bloggers.
Jeff wrote 5 tips, all of them good ones, including the suggestion to give away free crap. Since Jeff stole my free crap idea, I’m offering 7 tips, all them free, some of them crappy.
So gather ’round, my tender young bloglings, and drink deeply from the font of wisdom that is JD, a one-whole-year blogger who once had Widgetbucks and Blogvertise in her sidebar and is therefore a slightly questionable source of expertise.
- Carry a notebook. Ideas will pop into your head like merry kernels of corn popping into . . . um (runs out of metaphor). These ideas will pop at the most inconvenient times. You think you’ll remember them? You won’t. Write them down and keep a file of all your little scraps and scribbles and seedlings. Once your ideas are safely recorded, THEN you will remember them, usually in the middle of the night.
- Bring your camera with you everywhere. In my experience, “everywhere” pretty much means my kitchen. That doesn’t mean you’re invited to blog in my kitchen. Find your own “everywhere.” You never know when you’ll see something worth blogging about. Even if you don’t normally include photos in your blog, a good picture can often inspire an idea. When you’re stuck, look through old photos and scrapbooks. Embarrassing stories are just waiting to be written!
- Never underestimate the funny. I don’t know how many times Dave has said, “You’re going to blog about that?” If I listened to him and refrained from writing, say, about cleaning my stove or David Strathairn’s underwear, this blog would be nothing more than photos of Gus and lame-ass contests.
- Write when the urge hits you AND when the urge doesn’t hit you. In other words, try not to schedule writing time or think you can only write under certain conditions. I used to think I could only write in the morning, fueled by buckets of caffeine. But I’ve learned that I can write when I’m sleepy, cranky, hungry, strung out on Vicodin or muscle relaxers—I’m not saying I can write well or even coherently at these times, but I can write . . . my name.
- Have fun. Duh. I know, but sometimes I get bogged down under all the peripheral stuff: traffic, ads, template, comments, stats, the feeling that I’m not posting often enough or my posts are too long or I’ll never have another good idea again. I hope my blog is fun and enjoyable for all the millions out there who read it, but at the end of the day, it has to be fun for me.
- Think of your audience, BUT! Unless your dad is going to call you up and scold you for using the “F” word, try not to think too much about each individual person reading your blog. If you get stuck on “Well, I can’t write about this because Uncle Joe will tan my hide,” then, well, you MUST write a post about Uncle Joe tanning your hide. Anticipating what anyone or everyone will think leads to a lot of wheel-spinning.
- Get away from your blog. Turn off the computer, go outside, get a latte, and read a damn book already! Experiencing other forms of entertainment—even if it’s watching the entire season of Rock of Love 2 (only $20 on iTunes notthatiwouldknow)—will make you a better blogger. And for your own mental health, try not to see everything through your blogger’s eyes. Just live it. Not everything is blog fodder (OK, I’m kidding. EVERYthing is blog fodder!)
You may not be as old or as wise as I am, but I’d love to hear your tips and ideas. I’m also accepting free crap.
And! Won’t you celebrate my blog birthday by treating yourself to a nice chocolate donut? I know I will!